A watercooler moment with Jon Woodall, founder and managing director of Space 48, the e-commerce agency
In a nutshell, what does Space 48 do?
Space 48 is an e-commerce agency. Development is one side of the business but we also do marketing, in particular pay-per-click (PPC), for the websites that we build.
Where did the idea for Space 48 come from?
The idea itself actually came out of my passion for e-commerce and online. That’s where it started. I‘m just really passionate about online and the growth of that. With one of my colleagues, we identified Magento as a platform that we felt was gonna grow and that would prove to be a way that we could create the agency we’ve got today.
When did you start up?
How has it gone so far?
Very well. Over the past few years, it’s been significant in terms of growth. We’ve maintained profitable growth since the first year, which is great. Our headcount’s obviously increased; as it stands today, we actually have 17 people. And we’ve done that organically as well. We’ve not received any outside investment or funding.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
It’s finding good people. That’s number one. We’re a talent-based business: we have to find the best people. Clearly with what we do we look for people with a specific skillset and that might be someone who’s a php developer or someone who specifically knows PPC. But it’s also about finding the right fit. That’s a big thing we’ve been working hard on, especially in the last six months: getting people who fit the business.
How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
We specialise in Magento’s technology; that puts us in a smaller bracket. We’re one of only two Magento gold partners in the north-west, so I guess that makes us a little bit different. Additionally, rather than just doing the development and building the site, we’ve also got the marketing and PPC element of what we do. By us having marketing people and developers under the same roof, it allows us together to collaboratively build better sites.
What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
Focusing on being a specialist. We work with one platform and really we’d rather be master of that one platform versus all the rest of it. It is better that we focus on certain platforms and don’t try to be all things to all men.
Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
Still be growing financially and in terms of headcount. We won a Big Chip award last year for Best E-Business Project for one of our clients and that recognition has also meant that larger brands are starting to take notice of us. We’re going to continue to attract good brands to work with Space 48.
If you had one piece of advice for entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Understand your financials. If you change certain aspects of your business you need to understand how that changes the financials. And find great people and nurture talent.